Two landmark reports about drugs and harm reduction have been released in the past few weeks: Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the organization of former world leaders; and No Fire, No Smoke: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction by Harry Shapiro on behalf of Knowledge-Action-Change, a health agency associated with the Global Forum on Nicotine.
Both reports also agree that banning or making drugs illegal harms public health.
Tobacco harm reduction has travelled a separate but parallel road to drugs, sex and alcohol harm reduction,” notes Shapiro.
No Fire, No Smoke
No Fire, No Smoke is global in scope and stunningly comprehensive. Charts, graphs, maps and infographics present smoking and vaping prevalence data as well as the legal and regulatory status of e-cigarettes in dozens of countries. Its central ideas are that:
1. Safer nicotine products (SNP)—e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products and snus—deliver nicotine with significant reductions in risk as compared with combusted tobacco products.
2. These products need to be widely available and affordable in order to save millions of smokers’ lives the world over.
3. Unfortunately, these products have instead been subjected to massive amounts of “flawed science, misleading public information and sensational media reporting…sowing seeds of doubt.”